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The Queen’s Speech – what do landlords need to know?

The Queen’s Speech, delivered by Prince Charles on May 10 2022, outlined the government’s plans to level up through rental reform.

 Pledges previously made in the Queen’s speeches of 2019 and 2021 have acknowledged the need for change within the property sector.

 Rental reform aims to improve standards across the board to make the market better for landlords, tenants and letting agents alike.

 Here, we reveal the plans that the government aim to bring forward in the months ahead.

What was announced during the speech?

During the highly anticipated speech, details of what the Rental Reform Bill will include were thin on the ground, with only brief reference to housing and planning. But shortly after, more information was provided. In summary, the Bill will: 

  • Remove Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

  • Introduce a new Ombudsman for private landlords. 

  • Reform possession grounds for landlords.

  • Use the Decent Homes Standard in the Private Rented Sector.

  • Introduce a new property portal to help landlords understand their obligations, give tenants information, and aid local authorities.

By eradicating Section 21 evictions through a Bill brought forward by the government, the aim is to give ‘renters better rights when they are told to leave despite complying with the terms of their tenancy’.

The government also hopes to make tackling arrears and anti-social behaviour among tenants easier for landlords by providing additional reforms of landlords’ grounds for possessions.

Court battles in the property sector can be time-consuming as well as costly. By introducing a new Ombudsman for private landlords, the government hopes to make the dispute process less complex.

More information regarding ‘landmark reform in the private rented sector’ is set to be revealed in the upcoming White Paper, which the government has said will appear shortly. It was originally set to be released in spring, but now isn’t expected until at least the autumn.

How did the industry react?

Neil Cobbold, managing director of PayProp UK, commented: “We welcome the remarks in the Queen’s Speech on the timetable for rental reform. We now have more clarity on this important area of government policy, but there remain a number of question marks over how it will be implemented.” 

“The changes to Section 21, and a beefed-up Section 8, have been on the agenda for some time, but they continue to strongly divide opinion. The government will need to manage them carefully to ensure the interests of landlords, agents and tenants alike are catered for.” 

“The concept of lifetime deposits has been more widely welcomed, but wasn't mentioned in the plans for rental reform. In principle, making it faster and cheaper to move from tenancy to tenancy is a win for landlords, agents and tenants, but legitimate concerns remain about how this will work in practice, if indeed it still forms part of the government's plans.”

Daniel Evans, chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), added: “I don’t think anyone in the lettings industry will be jumping for joy until these plans start to see the light of the day.”

“Will the government – distracted by everything from partygate to war in Ukraine, the cost-of-living crisis and its own internal strife, worsened by the recent poor showing at the local elections – be able to keep its eye on the ball with something as major as widespread rental reform?”

“We’ve heard for many years the plans to scrap Section 21, introduce a compulsory landlord register (as is already the case in Scotland) and implement lifetime deposits, but we’ve never really got any further than that.”

“This latest announcement is a step in the right direction, but as we’ll remember from previous Queen Speeches, this isn’t the first time rental reform has been promised. Equally, pledges made in the Queen Speech aren’t always adhered to, so I think it’s important the industry doesn’t get too far ahead of itself.”

He concluded: “We all need a bit more clarity and certainty, and hopefully now we know the direction of travel with regards to rental reform, the momentum behind it will no longer falter.”

How will this impact landlords?

A White Paper on Rental Reform is expected to be released although a timeframe as to when this will be done has not yet been confirmed. There is still a large amount of uncertainty as, despite talk of change, changes are not actioned until they are passed into law.

Uncertainty about how and when changes will be implemented still lingers. Yet the Queen's Speech does reiterate that the government recognises the key issues in the rental market that require further attention.

New legislation to protect tenants from no-fault evictions, and ensure properties meet the industry standard means that landlords must put systems in place that ensure they too are protected.

Working closely with an established letting agent to ensure they are compliant is one part of this process.

Here at Holland Properties, we have been an established letting agent since 1999 and can help you to manage your tenancies. We operate across London, with our head office based in Docklands.

For further guidance on any part of the lettings process, please contact us today. You can also request a free and instant online valuation to see how much rent you could be charging in the current marketplace.